The Modern Clan MacLaren

Here is a perfect description of what has occurred.

"a perversion which, by its persistence, wide publicity, and the high position of the parties interested, ultimately became accepted as the actual truth." Alex. K. Stewart, of Achnacone. Appin, Feb. 14th, 1905.

Modern Clan MacLaren is a complete mess, bits and pieces of misundertood documents, untruths and outright fabrications that have nothing in common with real history whatsoever. For example their motto "Creag-An-Tuirc" meaning “The Boar’s Rock” actually means “The Campbell’s Rock”. The Campbells controlled much of Perthshire in the 16th century including Balquhiddder where the geologic feature is located. The Boar’s Rock being a clear reference to the Campbells hereditary symbol the boar.

The MacLaren Clan was created by Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Lord Lyon on 7 Feb. 1958, from a fictional history fabricated by James Logan and Daniel MacLaurin of Auchleskine in 1845, then published in “McIan’s Costumes of the Clans of Scotland” a pay to print book much like today’s vanity publications of “Who’s Who”. This was the MacLarens’ very first history in print.

The MacLaren’s are not unique with its highly questionable history as The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs freely admit, their entire existence is based on similar fictional clan histories.

"The clan system as we know it today was created over the course of a few years in the first quarter of the 19th century. At its heart were the novels of Walter Scott who triggered an extraordinary revival of interest in the Highlands and Highland history."

The new SCOSC convener Donald MacLaren of MacLaren will fit right into his role of continuing to mislead the innocent casual clan enthusiast with complete fiction, he and his clan societies have been practicing it for over fifty years.

When Donald MacLaren Jr. became Maclaren of Maclaren and Achleskine II in 1972 the following was written by respected Scottish Historian and Broadcaster, Dr. Ian Grimble.

"When the line of Lord Dreghorn came to an end the clan remained without a chief until, only a few years ago, the representative of the Auchleskine branch was recognized as MacLaren of MacLaren. These circumstances do not inspire confidence that much is known for certain about the identity of the MacLaren chiefs during the period when their office played a meaningful part in Highland life". Ian Grimble Ph.D., F.R.Hist.S. 1973.

“Ian knew what he was talking about.” Ronnie Black 26/3/2016

The Maclaren version of our clan history is that Clan Labhran with surname derived from Abbot Labhran of Achtow (who never existed according to modern Scottish  scholarship), descended from the Earls of Strathearn, who gave three brothers lands in Balquhidder and Strathearn. The Auchleskine lands given to the eldest son who was clan chief. They then massacred the entire Clan Buchanan of Leny in the 15th century for insulting one of their weak-minded. The western cadet branch at Invernenty was supposedly massacred twice by the evil MacGregors in the 16th century, which led to the destruction of the clan, and the decline to the point that they were landless and chiefless by the 1800s. That's pretty much it in a nutshell, the sure sign of questionable history is that it does not evolve or change as new information comes to light.

In 1957 Major Donald MacLaren a wealthy London businessman, politician and WWII hero, petitioned for the peerage title MacLaren of Auchleskine, then later MacLaren of MacLaren. Standard procedures were not followed by the Lyon Court in Donald's case with no clan “Derbhfine” held prior and a the clan society not created until after the fact.

The MacLaren clan chief now an alien (Londoner) as predicted for Scottish Clans in general by The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art. London 21, October 1899. Which also delivers in agreement with Sir Walter Scott a scathing review of the Maclaren clans very first history presented in "McIan's Costumes" in 1845, by the writer James Logan, who was hired by Daniel McLaurin of London to write the clan's history without a single primary source given. In 1865 Daniel matriculated arms in the Court of the Lord Lyon, using this entirely fictional history that Daniel McLaurin paid James Logan to write twenty years previously.

"Sir Walter Scott, who has done so much to cast a halo of romance over the clans, was totally unconvinced as to the antiquity of nearly all the tartans, and his disturbing criticism may now be read in his published letters," ii. pp. 257-8. TSRPLSA, 1899

So even the master myth maker, Sir Walter Scott, who in 1829 for his Waverly novels, made up the MacLaren versus MacGregor clan duel in 1734 at Kirkton, Balquhidder that supposedly resulted in Rob Roy's death after a duel with an Appin Stewart was skeptical!

"Let us not here, however, bring an uneasy feeling to the heart of the English shooting-tenant or the American millionaire, who have snugly ensconced themselves in the dress, as they have absorbed the traditions, of the children of the mist."TSRPLSA, 1899

The MacLaren clan history with its chief’s seat at Auchleskine, Balquhidder is based on James Logan's fictional clan history first published in "McIan's Costumes of the Clans of Scotland" in 1845. Nothing more than romantic pulp Scottish clan legends and providing a destination for wealthy tourists.

The official clan history book "The MacLarens" by Margaret MacLaren of MacLaren, is informal literature at best, some of it complete nonsense, with a good bit of intentional untruths. The existence of Abbot Labhran of Achtow is now disproved by modern Scottish scholarship, as is every other legend in their narrative. Margaret added several fabrications just for good measure, following the pattern of overblowing the importance of the MacLarens, as the Stewarts of Appin did in 1880 when they published their official "clan history" which is another romantic history where everyone is of the peerage, the main objective of 19th century pulp clan histories in general.

Even in 1899 the Logan clan histories were considered outdated, yet revisions are republished time and time again to this day.

"Since 1845 very much has been done to render much of the text somewhat antiquated. Many clans are chiefless now, and the wealthy alien often, too often, reigns in their stead." The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art. London 21, October 1899

After becoming clan chief, Donald Sr. bought property which included the hilltop creag-an-tuirc above Kirkton. He then contracted a large cairn to commemorate the promontory as the "clans ancient rallying place." The Kirk below is where all local gatherings actually took place, where there was a fire, food, and shelter. Not on some hilltop in the wind and rain. For example, the Balquhidder muster for Prince Charles Army was at the Kirk in the early fall of 1745.

So think twice, before you spend tens of thousands of dollars or influence anyone else to do so, just to visit "Brigadoon" er!! "Balquhidder." Do a little research, you can probably found out where you ancestors came from or get close. There were a lot more McLarens migrating from Breadalbane, Perthshire or the Appin and Ardchattan, Argyll region than ever came from Balquhidder.

BTW: The MacLaren clan crest is derived from the MacGregor clan crest because Daniel MacLaurin’s mum was a MacGregor.

In 2007 Clan MacLaren led by Donald MacLaren, Jr., whisky salesman and E. Hamish McLaren another Londoner, along with the Clan MacLaren Society of North America, bought and paid for their "Battle of Culloden" history. They paid the National Trust for Scotland for the "Appin Regiment" battlefield marker with the stipulation that “MacLaren” will be carved into the marker. Even though all the contemporaneous records place the Perthshire "MacLarens" in the Atholl Regiment and all parties agreed there is no evidence that Perthshire MacLarens were in the Appin Regiment. So today the thirteen McLaurins from Appin who actually died in the Appin Regiment memorial is now desecrated by a fake clan chief's name from Balquhidder. A clan that did not exist until 1958, more than two hundred years after Culloden.

So even the dead are not immune to Donald MacLaren and his Societies desecration. They are nothing but “Military Posers” see for a defintion.

To give you an idea of how far Donald MacLaren will go to preserve his false legacy, here he again tried to desecrate the dead. In 2009 Donald MacLaren attempted to have Rob Roy MacGregors body exhumed, to prove it was not Rob Roy buried there. Thankfully saner minds prevailed and that desecration did not occur.

"A quest by the MacLaren clan to disinter Rob Roy’s remains for DNA testing has outraged the folk hero’s MacGregor ancestors. A centuries-old clan feud has taken another twist with the MacLarens and the MacGregors involved in a heated dispute over the burial place of the outlaw and folk hero Rob Roy. Donald MacLaren, the chief of the Clan MacLaren, wants to disinter the remains of Rob Roy MacGregor from a grave in Balquhidder, Stirlingshire, to test their authenticity. He does not believe that the kirkyard, near to where he lives, houses MacGregor's remains. He says the outlaw was buried in an unmarked grave several miles away and says tourists flocking to the site are being fed a myth." Stuart MacDonald

May 31, 2009, 7:48pm, The Sunday Times